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Chapter 3: Marching On
-Lily Elizabeth Evans-
Dorcas Meadowes let out a loud sigh as she dragged Lily through the Leaky Cauldron to the alley behind it. "Would you move faster Lils?"
"Why are you in such a rush?" Lily huffed as her short legs fought to keep up with Dorcas.
"I want to get my books, and get the hell out of here Lil. Every time I'm here I run into Amos Diggory, and if I see that smug bastard today I might kill him."
Lily frowned as she tucked her wavy crimson hair behind her ears. "What did he do to you that made you hate him? You've never said."
"Let's just say he's an asshole and leave it at that." Dorcas responded briskly as they moved through the crowd.
Lily's frown deepened but she didn't say anything. She'd been friends with Dorcas for years, but there was always this mysterious side to her. It didn't happen too often, but there were random times when she would know something or say something that would throw Lily off and make her wonder how she could know these things. Of course Marlene was Dorcas's friend and even she had trouble reading Dorcas so Lily just figured it was the way she was.
As they walked that thought made her incredibly sad. She was close to Marlene, Dorcas, Alice and Mary, but none of them was her best friend. Marlene and Dorcas were best friends, Alice and Mary were best friends, leaving Lily all on her own. When she was little her sister was her best friend, but as soon as that relationship soured Lily became best friends with Severus, but now that didn't exist anymore either. It wasn't that she had a whole lot going on that required someone to fill the best friend position, but it still made her lonely. Quietly she trailed behind Dorcas as she raced through the street to get to the potions shop.
"Lily?" Dorcas paused and put her arm around Lily. "You okay? You look a bit peaky."
Lily ignored her stupid secure thoughts and smiled at Dorcas. "I'm fine. Let's go."
They spent around a half hour in the potions shop. After about five of those minutes Dorcas had Lily laughing and after ten minutes Lily forgot what she was upset about in the first place. By the time they went to the bookstore they had already hit every stop they needed to so they were both quite relaxed. Dorcas tipped her hat down on her curly brown hair. She wore shorts, heels and a muggle band t-shirt. Lily, who wore just some jeans and a tank top wondered why Dorcas always felt the need to wear heels wherever she went. It seemed odd to Lily but after awhile she just figured that it was just another weird thing about Dorcas.
"Okay, you get the first half of our course books and I'll get the second half deal?"
"Well, if we're doing it that way. I think we should make a bit of a sport out of it." Lily smirked knowing she would win. "I mean what's the incentive to rushing if we aren't meeting a goal?"
Dorcas rolled her eyes. "You and your, 'goals'…fine. I'll play. What are the stakes ginger?"
"I don't know. You're better at that part than I am."
"True…How about this? If I win you have to do whatever I say for a day."
Lily tensed, and her eyes squinted as she felt this was a very large trap. "…Damn D…You really went for it didn't you?"
"I play to win. What do you want Lil?"
"I want you to pay for my quills for a week."
Putting out her tan hand, she shook Lily's. "Deal, here's the line. Ready? Set? Go!"
Cheating slightly, Lily tried to trip Dorcas as she raced across the store. Laughing Dorcas evaded Lily and bolted to the charms section. Running, Dorcas's curls bounced as she tried to move as fast and as carefully as possible without falling, which was a feat in three-inch heels. Just as she was about retrieve the last book, and win world domination she halted in hatred.
Dorcas's eyes narrowed like a lion seeing a particularly slutty lamb. Her mouth tightened her eyes landed on Emmeline Vance. Her shirt was hiked up so all the boys behind her had a perfect view of her butt and a little idea of what else was up there. Her blonde hair was lighter than Marlene's and although other girls in their year had similar coloring Dorcas never referred to their hair color as, 'Trash-whore blond.' Lily, Marlene, Alice and Mary all agreed that they didn't care for Emmeline, but Dorcas was the only one who outright proclaimed her hatred for her.
"Wow Vance," Dorcas sauntered, popping a hand on her hip. "I didn't know you could read."
A boy from behind Emmeline assisted her down as she gave Dorcas an innocent look. "Oh hello Dorcas, I didn't see you there."
With anyone else Emmeline would have hugged them. She had that fake friendly air about her. Emmeline used it in a way where she would always pretend she and whoever she had run into were old long lost friends. When actually Emmeline really didn't have any friends, because whenever she got a new friend she had the tendency to snog their boyfriend within the week.
"Yes well, I'm sure you have much more important things on your mind." Dorcas drawled, sarcasm dripping from her tone.
Emmeline flashed Dorcas a painfully fake smile, and whipped her long perfectly straight blond hair over her shoulder. "I'll see you at school Meadowes."
"Ah huh." Dorcas scoffed openly glaring at her.
Lily laughed heartedly as she walked up and nudged Dorcas. "You could have at least faked some manners!"
"I hate that bitch, I really do." Dorcas declared in a tone that 100 percent serious.
"Well it doesn't matter…You still lost!" Lily cried in victory thrusting her fists into the air. "And I, THE ULTIMATE VICTOR, WON!"
A wide smile crossed Dorcas's face. "Actually Lil, you didn't."
"What do you mean? I got everything on the list."
"No you didn't. You didn't grab the transfiguration book."
Lily's freckled face went pure white. "They were out, I put us on the mailing list…"
"Uh uh uhhhh." Dorcas tutted her scoldingly. "The rules clearly state that you were supposed to grab all books you were responsible for." Moving forward Dorcas grabbed the book Emmeline had been blocking. "So technically, I won."
"Noooo." Lily breathed in terror. "Dorcas-"
"Oh don't worry Lily," Dorcas smirked, her tone making Lily worry more. "I won't be calling this favor in for a while. I think I'm going to wait for the opportune moment."
Lily whined. "Whyyy?"
"Because my little pale friend, a bet is a bet. Now let's pay for these and get out of here!"
"Fine." Lily sulked under her breath.
"Don't feel bad Lils." She mocked, "At least you made a honest effort."
"Next time," Lily vowed pointing an accusatory finger at Dorcas as they moved to wait in line, "I will win."
Dorcas snickered patting her head condescendingly. "Sure you will Lil."
When the pair arrived back at Lily's house they went to the kitchen and started making cookies for Peter's birthday party. Lily wasn't attending, but she always felt bad for Peter. It was odd, he had a family, he had friends, but there was just something about him that made her stop and feel sorry for him. Though she couldn't put her finger on why that was exactly she made the cookies anyway.
Somehow thinking of Peter reminded Lily of Marlene. She only stayed for two days, but she barely said anything while she was there. It wasn't that she seemed to have a bad time, she laughed when they played hide and go seek around the neighborhood, but there was just something off about the way she was acting.
"Hey, did you notice Marlene was acting weird when she was here?" Lily asked suddenly as she put the cookies in the oven.
Dorcas frowned as she sipped her water. "No…Now that you mention it I guess she was a little quieter than usual. Why?"
"I don't know I just thought of it."
"I'm sure it's nothing deep." Dorcas reassured her with a grin. "It's Marlene. She doesn't get a lot of big problems, just plenty of small ones. I'll ask Potter about it when I see him at Peter's birthday party."
Lily asked. "Was Marlene even invited to that?"
"I'm sure she was, but you know how awkward it is between Remus and her." Dorcas shrugged. "I'm sure Peter invited her, but she probably went to see Potter and Black early so she wouldn't have to spend anymore time with Remus than necessary…I think he thinks they're friends though."
"He can't see that she's still hurt?" Lily asked her green eyes crinkling in concern.
Dorcas's face stiffened. "I don't think he wants to see it."
"It's sad. I really thought they'd work out."
"Not every couple is meant to last." Dorcas the protégé of divorce murmured.
"I know, but I hate to think you can love someone that much and then have it not matter in the end."
"To be honest," Dorcas began in a hushed tone. "I don't think he ever let himself love her and she fell for him hard because she thought she'd be safe with him."
Lily sighed, "The irony in that is awful."
"Yeah it kind of is."
A small pit of silence consumed them as they looked at the cookies Lily had just baked. Dorcas felt a little out of place. She had stayed with Lily for a month while her parents fought over her custody. But she didn't for a second feel guilty because Lily and Mr. Evans always made it clear that she was perfectly welcome. Now she felt guilty that she hadn't once talked to Marlene about Remus. They dated for a year and had broken up last May and Marlene didn't volunteer a single shred of information other than that they were no longer seeing each other. Wanting to get away from the small amount of guilt rising inside of her Dorcas thought of something else do.
"Come on," Dorcas nudged Lily. "I have an idea."
Ten minutes later Lily and Dorcas were dressed in an oversized flower shirt, a tie, and baggy dress pants. Dorcas then took out Lily's make up and literally started to draw on her face.
"So what is the point of this?"
"The point is, we are going to finish putting awful make up on each other and then when the cookies are done we will let them cool and then we will go get some ice cream."
Lily paused, as she shook with silent laughter. "So we literally are supposed to look ridiculous."
Dorcas beamed as she fixed Lily's blue beard. "Exactly."
"D, you're off your rocker."
"Yes and yet you haven't stopped me and are even going as far as to support my efforts. So I would say you are worse!"
Once they were done, they took pictures of themselves, and almost died of laughter. They looked like drunken clowns that were trying to be homeless bag ladies. Then after the cookies were done, they boldly left the Evans household. They received gawks and stares wherever they went, but Dorcas was completely unaffected. Lily on the otherhand had to hold onto her for support whenever she caught her own reflection. It was simply too funny for her to act like it was how she looked everyday.
After getting ice cream, they sat at a near by playground that Lily used to come to with Severus. Usually she would get depressed when she visited this place as nostalgia would take over, but this time it was impossible to keep the laugh off her lips. Eventually Dorcas broke when she saw a little kid's reaction to her face.
Dorcas simply snorted and said. "I think I might have made that boy pee his pants!"
Miles away, James Potter wasn't having as good of a time as Dorcas and Lily.
It had been a week since Sirius had permanently began to live at the Potter residence and he rarely came out of his room. James tried everyday to get him to talk or even just leave his room, but he wouldn't. He would make up excuses that he was tired or he didn't feel like it. When really he was just sitting in his room torturing himself over what his father had done to not only him, but also to Marlene.
"Dad," James knocked on his dad's study as he lingered in the doorway. "Can I come in?"
"Of course," His father answered instantly ruffling his graying jet-black hair that was almost identical to his sons. "What would you like to discuss James?"
James sat in the chair in front of this father's desk with a scowl. "It's Sirius…he's been locked up in his room for days and I don't know what to do about it."
"Your mother has shared similar concerns." Harold Potter shrugged in understanding. "Have you tried to talk to him?"
"He just sits there…not saying anything like he's just waiting for me to stop talking." James breathed in frustration as he leaned forward in the chair.
Harold Potter eyed his one and only son somberly. His son had inherited his unearthly black hair, his height, his wiry build, his narrow face and his poor eyesight. Personality wise his son was a lot like him in his sense of loyalty and impulsiveness, but the rest of him was more like his mother. James had gotten her pale skin, hazel eyes, her genuine warm heart and her nature to over analyze and worry about everything. It was such an odd combination that seemed to work well in their son, but in moments like this he wished his son were less like his mother.
"Well, I hate to tell you this, but maybe giving him space is what he needs. When he's ready I'm sure he'll come to you."
James let out a small noise of annoyance as he glared into his father's dark brown eyes. "That's all well and good dad, but what if that doesn't work?"
"Then you've done everything you can…You get too involved in other peoples problems James-"
"He's my best friend dad!"
"I'm very well aware of that fact." Harold snorted. "But the fact is sometimes no matter how much we want to help we can't. You have to wait for Sirius to make the first step."
Completely unsatisfied with his father's advice James stood up. "Thanks dad for the unwavering moral support, but I'm going to go another way."
"Nope dad," James forced a smile. "It's cool. I've got an idea."
Twenty minutes later, an irritated Marlene arrived at the Potter household. Her blonde hair was up in a high ponytail and she still wore her violet work uniform from earlier today. Her face didn't have an ounce of make-up on it making her look younger and clearly displayed how tired she was.
"So what is this huge emergency James? I know Peter's party is here tomorrow and you know I don't want to be here for that." She leaned against the kitchen wall. "So what is it?"
James eyed her. "How long did you work today?"
"10 hours. 8 to 6. Now are you going to answer my question?" Marlene said shortly as she rubbed her temples.
"Come with me."
Walking behind James Marlene felt a rage building inside of her. She'd been working 10 hours everyday for the past four days. Her feet were killing her, her back was about to give and James was taking her on a wild goose chase?
"James, just tell me what's going on."
James stopped in front of Sirius's door. "He's been in there for a week, and he won't come out."
"How would I be any help with that? You have a whole list of people that he would rather see than me."
"Mar, you were the only one here when it happened." He lowered his voice. "Now I know you two aren't that close, but I don't want to tell anyone else about this. It's his thing to tell if he wants to, but you already know….and I have to do something to help him. Please Mar. Just talk to him."
Marlene looked at James and scowled as he pulled out his puppy dogface. It worked instantly, and Marlene's bitter attitude faded as she conceded.
"Fine, I'll talk to him, but don't count on anything. I might just piss him off."
He swiftly kissed her on the cheek. "You're the best Mar!"
"Yeah yeah yeah…" She rolled her eyes dryly. "Now get out of here. I'll come see you before I leave."
"Okay!" James rejoiced as he strutted back to his room.
"The things I do for friends…" Marlene muttered darkly under her breath before knocking on Sirius's door.
"Prongs I'm not hungry." A cold hollow voice sounded on the other side of the door.
Marlene frowned and said. "It's not James."
She expected him to tell her to go away and she would have. Marlene would have told James she tried and gone home to a lovely bubble bath, but Sirius as always never did what she thought he would do. So she was quite taken aback when she heard him say she could come in.
The room was a complete and total mess. His clothes were all over the floor and he sat in the midst of the darkness, unshaven with a flash of what Marlene assumed wasn't pumpkin juice. Sighing, Marlene instantly started to straighten up his room. Knowing that she could use magic under the Potter's roof, Marlene got out her wand and went to work. She stacked his dirty clothes on one side of the room, cleaned them and then organized them into his dresser. Then she cleaned his bed sheets, dusted the room and swept the crumbs of the snacks he'd been eating off the floor. When she was finished the only thing dirty in the room was Sirius.
Letting out a low breath, she tightened her ponytail and sat down in front of him.
"Sirius," She began quietly, her voice full of kindness. "When was the last time you showered?"
His black hair, which was always so sleek and elegant and grown greasy and wavy in his lack of upkeep. There were deep circles under his eyes and he looked like he hadn't slept properly in days.
"Three days ago." He answered in a low tone.
Marlene grimaced, "I'm assuming that goes for brushing your teeth and every other hygienic thing right?"
"Probably." He offered without any effort.
"Okay, this isn't happening." She told him, "I'm going to help you up and get you into the shower. Now if you try to give me any of this, leave-me-to-my-depression-shit, I will just use my wand to toss you in there."
His face shifted into anger. "I can walk."
"Good, then let's go."
Gruffly he rose to his feet and slipped his shirt and pants before walking into the bathroom.
"Now do you need me to go in there with you or are you going to wash yourself?" Marlene addressed him like he was a two year old.
Scowling he said, "I've got it from here."
"Don't forget to brush your teeth and shave!" She shouted as he shut the door in her face.
Marlene marched over to his dresser and grabbed a pair of sweats and a t-shirt. After peeling off her work shirt and pants she let herself air dry for a second before getting into his t-shirt and sweatpants. Then she put her clothes aside to bring with her whenever she left.
Sighing she fell onto his bed and closed her eyes. She only woke up when she heard Sirius walk out of the bathroom in just a towel. It was weird how quickly his demeanor had changed. Marlene couldn't remember a time when he didn't hit on her so consistently. It wasn't that she minded the change, but it was weird because without him flirting with her he had rarely spoken to her at all over the years.
"I see you've borrowed my clothes." Sirius muttered as he waltzed over to his freshly organized dresser.
Marlene nodded. "I'll give them back once I wash mine."
"What is that you were wearing anyway?" Sirius snorted eyeing the unattractive smock with a small amount of amusement.
"You have a job?" Sirius seemed surprised.
"For three years now."
"What do you do?"
Sitting up, she snuggled into his comforter and said, "It depends usually I work the register, but if we're understaffed I work back of house which is just organizing the stock and merchandise. If I could I'd work back of house all day."
"Why is that?" He asked as he moved to pull on his boxers discreetly behind his towel.
"Because when I work up front I get harassed."
Sirius tossed his towel aside and looked at her thoughtfully. "Because you're hot?"
"Because I have boobs." She shrugged with an undertone of disgust. "It's fine though. At least I don't have to work tomorrow."
"I never thought you'd have a job." He murmured as he sat down on the edge of his bed.
Her eyes narrowed. "Why?"
"Because I thought your parent's had old pureblood money."
"No," Her face darkened. "We do, but with six kids and medical bills it adds up."
"You have five siblings?" He looked at her incredulously.
She snorted. "Lucky number six over here."
"I knew Molly, Mary and Melanie were your sisters but I didn't realize there were more." He admitted.
"It goes Rick, Mackenzie, Melanie, Mary, Molly and me." Marlene left the blankets and sat down next to him. "But we aren't supposed to be talking about me, we are supposed to be talking about you."
"And what would you know about me?" He countered darkly. "Aren't you supposed to be avoiding this place because of Peter's party?"
Her lips thinned. "I already sent him his present, but I'm not coming to his party because I can't stand to be in the same room as Remus and I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable."
A wave of remorse hit Sirius as he looked at Marlene. It never occurred to him that she actually liked Peter. He just thought she just had made some excuse not to show up.
"I thought you guys were friends." His voice was soft and full of regret.
"He's friends with me." She frowned, "But don't tell him that's why I'm not coming."
Sirius turned to look at her as if she was crazy. "Don't you think he'll figure it out?"
"No. He thinks we're friends and I don't want to hurt him. I'll get over this eventually. Besides Remus is always blind where I'm concerned…" Marlene paused and gave him a stern look. "But you need to stop lashing out and trying to distract me. You can't bottle your anger in Sirius."
"I know I can't…" He sighed sadly.
Marlene put a hand on his bare shoulder making him look at her. "Whatever your parent's have said or done to you, none of it is right."
"I know." He brushed her of noncommittally.
"No," She told him firmly. "You don't.
Marlene scooted closer and moved his body to face hers. Her blue eyes were unwavering on his grey ones.
"You don't deserve it, any of it. It's not your fault." He tried to roll his eyes, but she moved closer and cupped his face so he was unable to. "It's not your fault."
His eyes filled with unwilling tears and he tried feebly to move away from her, but he couldn't.
She repeated in the same sincere fierce tone, "It's not your fault."
Sirius tried to fight it. He tried to stay strong and pretend that he'd just spent this whole time angry. It killed him to know that even a single part of him cared what his parent's thought of him. But he did. The childish part of him that still had a false lingering hope that one day he might wake up and they might not hate him was in agony. But after a few seconds with Marlene he felt tears spill down his cheeks. She crawled into his lap and pulled him into a tight hug.
He didn't want to give into it, but she had caught him completely by surprise. Lately, he noticed she had a habit of doing that. Sirius would have never expected her to show up and never even imagined that she would be the one comforting him, especially since she so carelessly was straddling his half naked body to do so.
Sirius inhaled the scent of her shampoo as her slender hands rubbed his back reassuringly. His emotions slowed as his arms rested on the small of her back.
"You okay?" She asked as she pulled away.
Slightly startled by her proximity, he took in her bright blonde hair, even brighter blue eyes and earnest face. How had he never noticed how beautiful she was? Gulping down his vulnerability he felt his swagger come back as the position looked incredibly suspicious.
"What?" She asked aloud in confusion.
"I knew you couldn't resist me." He snickered earning a smack to the arm from her.
Marlene slid off of him with a slightly bemused smile. "You're an idiot, but I'm glad you're back."
"Are you going to stay or was this too much for you?" He teased putting his muscular arms behind his neck.
"How did you know?" Marlene put a hand over her heart mockingly. She let out a small laugh. "I'll see you in a month. Please eat and shower in the meantime okay?"
Marlene grabbed her clothes and was about to leave when she scrunched up her face. She seemed to be thinking of something for a moment before she walked over to Sirius and brought him into a warm hug.
"And please," She asked quietly. "Talk to James. It hurts him to see you like this."
"Okay." He promised.
Marlene released him with an melodramatic sigh. She tightened her ponytail, moved for the door, and did a bow. "My work here is done!"
Song in the summary is Marching On By: One Republic. I'm begging you guys please review! I need to have some kind of feed back so I know what you guys think of it! THANK YOU FOR READING! PLEASE PLEASE REVIEW!